Someone has posted the video and audio that has been released by city authorities regarding the September 16, 2016, shooting on 36th Street N. in Tulsa. The collection consists of video from three officer dash cams and from the helicopter, audio from the 911 calls, and audio from police dispatch.
Officer Betty Jo Shelby was charged today by District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler with "Manslaughter First Degree, Heat of Passion," a felony violation of 21 O.S. 711, with an alternative charge of "Manslaughter, First Degree, Resisting Criminal Attempt." That link leads to the case file (CF-2016-5138) on the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network, and there you will find the DA's initial filing and the probable cause affidavit from DA office investigator Doug Campbell. Judge James Keeley signed the finding of probable cause and issued a warrant for Officer Shelby's arrest.
The charges read as follows:
21 O.S. 711
BETTY JO SHELBY, on or about 9/16/2016, in Tulsa County, State of Oklahoma and within the jurisdiction of this court, did commit the crime of MANSLAUGHTER - FIRST DEGREE - HEAT OF PASSION, a Felony, The Defendant Betty Jo Shelby, a Tulsa Police Officer encountered Terence Tafford Crutcher in the vicinity of 2300 East 36th Street North in the City and County of Tulsa Oklahoma, and based upon Terence Tafford Crutcher's non-compliant actions and behavior, the Defendant's fear resulted in her unreasonable actions which led her to shooting Terence Tafford Crutcher with a handgun which thereby caused his death.
AND/OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE:21 O.S. 711
BETTY JO SHELBY, on or about 9/16/2016, in Tulsa County, State of Oklahoma and within the jurisdiction of this court, did commit the crime of MANSLAUGHTER - FIRST DEGREE - RESISTING CRIMINAL ATTEMPT, a Felony, the Defendant Betty Jo Shelby, a Tulsa Police Officer encountered Terence Tafford Crutcher in the vicinity of 2300 East 36th Street North in the City and County of Tulsa Oklahoma, and based upon Terence Tafford Crutcher's refusal to comply with her lawful orders, the Defendant unlawfully and unnecessarily shot Terence Tafford Crutcher with her handgun which thereby caused his death.
Philip Holloway, a criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, and certified peace officer for 27 years, has a CNN op-ed calling our attention to Graham v. Conner, a 1989 U. S. Supreme Court case that establishes the standard for reasonable use of force by law enforcement. Holloway evaluates the known facts in light of that standard, but leaves any conclusions to an investigation.
Tulsa Police Department deactivated their Twitter account, according to an emailed news release at 11:46 am, 2016/09/21:
Due to the overwhelming volume of violent and profane posts on the Tulsa Police Department's twitter account it has been deactivated temporarily. We will be maintaining our presence on Facebook.COMMENT:
I have been impressed by the grace with which our local officials -- particularly Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr, TPD Chief Chuck Jordan, DA Steve Kunzweiler, and City Councilor Jack Henderson -- and local activists -- former Councilor Joe Williams and We the People Oklahoma leader Marq Lewis, among others -- and the grieving Crutcher family have responded to this situation. Prompt and determined pursuit of the 2012 Good Friday shooters earned the city some benefit of the doubt in the community. The willingness of all concerned to speak face to face, rather than talking past each other in the media, may be why Tulsa has been spared the destruction that has happened in other cities.
I am not impressed with local and national voices who are jumping to impose their narrative on the situation before all the facts are known and the process is complete.
For example, Sean Hannity had KRMG's Russell Mills on his radio show via phone on Wednesday. When Hannity tried to push a claim that he had "inside info" from TPD about Crutcher's warrants and criminal history, Mills responded with "just the facts" -- which wasn't as helpful to Hannity's narrative. Mills was being his usual professional self, sticking to substantiated facts. Hannity seemed very annoyed that the guy at the local affiliate wasn't backing his narrative, and he switched away from Russell very quickly to bloviate with a couple of his fellow bloviators. (I stopped listening to Hannity months ago, but on Wednesday I was in the middle of a long drive, scanning the dial for something to hold my attention.)
To my friends who are slamming the DA for filing charges so soon: Steve Kunzweiler is an experienced criminal prosecutor who ran the criminal division of the DA's office before winning the open seat in 2014. He was never involved politically until that election. I trust him to know what elements have to be present to constitute probable cause. If you have doubts, I urge you to click that case link above and read the probable cause affidavit, which appears to take Officer Shelby's claims at face value, and yet finds that the use of force was not reasonable under the circumstances she describes.
How many states are in full compliance with the REAL ID act? How many states have an exemption that expires on October 10, 2016? How many states are already out of compliance?
If you were just learning about the issue from local news and social media, I can see how you might have come to the conclusion that 49 states and all the territories were already in full compliance and the only holdout was backward, ignorant Oklahoma, led by our Bible-besotted legislators and that awful Mary Fallin who stupidly believe that REAL ID is practically the Mark of the Beast. If you're only reluctantly an Oklahoman, if you already hate our state's religiously-influenced cultural conservatism, the apparent practical consequences of REAL ID non-compliance serve as a hefty cudgel with which to beat your favorite straw man.
For example, this News 9 story received a lot of social media play early this week:
OK Licenses Will No Longer Be Accepted For Access Onto Military Bases By Dana Hertneky, News 9
MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma -
Your Oklahoma driver's license many not get you on military bases after October 10. Oklahoma legislators failed last session to make our Oklahoma Driver's licenses REAL ID compliant, and the current extension expires October 10. Without another extension, visitors to the bases will no longer be able to use their Oklahoma driver's license for identification.
HGL Construction does work on all three military bases in Oklahoma. During a recent site visit they were told that after October 10, an Oklahoma driver's license would no longer be an acceptable identification to get them on base.
"It will require not only HGL, but our subcontractors to secure passports, which most of our subcontractors wouldn't necessarily have," said Patrick Renshaw, the VP and Director of Preconstruction for HGL Construction.
Public Affairs officers at the bases say the new rules will also affect delivery drivers and even family members visiting the base for graduations or ceremonies. At Ft. Sill, they are warning loved ones now about the change, so they have time to get the necessary documentation.
There's some important context that the story doesn't give you. The limits on access to military installations is nothing new. It's been decades since a driver's license was sufficient for unescorted access to a military base. On some bases, a federal Common Access Card (available to some contractors on a strictly controlled basis) is sufficient, but on others, you also need to present a background check to the base pass office to get a separate, base-specific pass, and on still others, you'll need a vehicle pass as well.
The most important context missing from the story is that Oklahoma is not alone in its REAL ID non-compliance. Here is the Department of Homeland Security's list (retrieved today) of the status of driver's licenses from each state and territory:
(A) 23 states and the District of Columbia are considered fully compliant.
(B) 24 states, Guam, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands "have an extension, allowing Federal agencies to accept driver's licenses from these states until October 10, 2016."
(C) American Samoa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Washington are non-compliant and do not have an extension. Federal agencies may accept Enhanced Driver's Licenses (equipped with an RFID chip and valid for land and sea border crossings) that are available to Minnesota and Washington residents.
Oklahoma is in category B, along with California, Texas, New York, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts -- some very big company indeed.
New York State is telling its citizens that, despite the impending expiration of their extension, there's no need to worry for another four years:
Can I board a plane with the driver license I have now?
Yes. DMV expects that all licenses and ID cards issued by New York State will remain acceptable for domestic flights and for access to federal buildings until October 1, 2020.
What happens after 2020?
Starting in October 2020,New Yorkers will need a REAL ID compliant license to board a domestic flight or enter a federal building without secondary forms of identification, as per the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
New York State has been granted an extension to the REAL ID Act only through October 10, 2016. What does that mean?
The extension's 2016 expiration is no cause for concern, as DHS grants extensions only on an annual basis and New York State anticipates having a REAL ID extension until becoming fully compliant with the Act. That means New Yorkers can continue to use their current state-issued driver license or ID card to enter federal buildings or board a domestic flight until October 1, 2020.
Do I need to worry about this now?
No. All New York licenses and ID cards are currently acceptable for REAL ID purposes and DMV expects them to be until October 1, 2020.
Since Congress passed REAL ID in 2005 as a rider on a must-pass appropriations bill, there's been a kind of gamesmanship happening. DHS doesn't want to acknowledge widespread rebellion against this Federal overreach. They prefer to pretend that most non-compliant states are moving toward compliance, and as long as a state plays along -- periodically requests an extension, presents some plausible excuses (e.g. fiscal constraints), and professes progress toward compliance -- DHS is happy to grant an extension. The only states tarred with the scarlet non-compliance label are those who are making no pretense to compliance.
Those forces that want Americans to have to obtain what amounts to an internal passport, linked to a central database, use media to activate the herd mentality. They want to convey the impression that each non-compliant state is alone, and it's time to get with the program. But as long as non-compliant states (especially the larger ones) stick together, Federal agencies will have to continue to grant extensions. Enforcement would create enough inconvenience for federal agencies and citizens that have to interact with them to generate calls for repeal.
Why should you care? Civil liberties organizations have raised objections to the REAL ID plan since its inception, citing threats to liberty, privacy, and the security of your identity. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), CATO Institute, Electronic Freedom Foundation, the left-leaning ACLU, and the right-leaning ACLJ have all come out in opposition to REAL ID. Here is an excerpt from EPIC's REAL ID page:
EPIC and 24 experts in privacy and technology submitted detailed comments (pdf) in May 2007 on the draft regulations explaining the many privacy and security threats raised by the REAL ID Act. The fundamentally flawed national identification system is unworkable and the REAL ID Act must be repealed. In particular, the group admonishes DHS for its failure to include adequate privacy and security safeguards for this massive national identification database. DHS's own Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee has refused (pdf) to endorse the agency's plan. "The Committee feels it is important that the following comments do not constitute an endorsement of REAL ID or the regulations as workable or appropriate."
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff released the agency's final regulations for REAL ID on January 11, 2008. The Secretary scaled back some of the requirements, reduced the cost, and extended the deadline for state compliance. However, Secretary Chertoff also indicated that the REAL ID card would be used for a wide variety of purposes, unrelated to the law that authorized the system, including employment verification and immigration determination. He also indicated that the agency would not prevent the use of the card by private parties for non-government purposes. As part of the cost-saving effort, Homeland Security has decided not to encrypt the data that will be stored on the card.
In an opinion column written by Secretary Chertoff after the publication of the final rule, he said, "embracing REAL ID" would mean it would be used to "cash a check, hire a baby sitter, board a plane or engage in countless other activities." This is a description of a national identification system, which is illegal in the United States. When it created the Department of Homeland Security, Congress made clear in the enabling legislation that the agency could not create a national ID system. In September 2004, then-DHS Secretary Tom Ridge reiterated, "[t]he legislation that created the Department of Homeland Security was very specific on the question of a national ID card. They said there will be no national ID card."
In a detailed analysis (pdf) of the final rule, EPIC explained that the Department of Homeland Security's REAL ID system includes few protections for individual privacy and security in its massive national identification database. It harms national security by creating yet another "trusted" credential for criminals to exploit. The Department of Homeland Security has faced so many obstacles with the REAL ID system that the agency now plans an implementation deadline of 2017 -- nine years later than the 2008 statutory deadline. It is an unfunded mandate that would cost billions, with the burden ultimately being placed on the individual taxpayer.
Technical experts familiar with the challenges of privacy protection and identification presented the Department of Homeland Security with a variety of recommendations that would have minimized the risks of the REAL ID system. The DHS made some modifications, but left the essential system in place. As REAL ID currently stands, the costs are many and the benefits are few. EPIC also detailed the State rebellion against REAL ID.
EPIC urged the alternative model of a system of decentralized identification. This reduces the risks associated with security breaches and the misuse of personal information. Technological innovation can enable the development of context-dependent identifiers. A decentralized approach to identification is consistent with our commonsense understanding of identification. If you are banking, you should have a bank account number. If go to the library, you should have a library card number. If you rent videos from a store, you should have a video rental store card number. Utility bills, telephone bills, insurance, the list goes on. These context-dependent usernames and passwords enable authentication without the risk of a universal identification system. That way, if one number is compromised, all of the numbers are not spoiled and identity thieves cannot access all of your accounts. All of your accounts can become compartmentalized, enhancing their security. View the full report: Marc Rotenberg & Melissa Ngo, EPIC, REAL ID Implementation Review: Few Benefits, Staggering Costs (pdf) (May 2008).
I suspect that some REAL ID proponents support it mainly because of the perceived benefits for immigration enforcement. Other proponents may have a commercial interest -- providing the enhanced cards and the machines that produce them or the IT systems to manage the data gathered. Law enforcement might find it easier to do their jobs if your life was less compartmentalized. Commercial entities see financial opportunity in linking data among various aspects of your life; you may have noticed, in the move from computers to smart phones, that you have to use a single ID from Apple or Google to access various apps, and you have to give those apps permission to crawl around all the data that other apps have generated. Even if the Federal Government fails to establish a universal ID, Apple and Google may succeed.
Here's what EFF has to say about REAL ID:
Once the IDs and database are in place their uses will inevitably expand to facilitate a wide range of surveillance activities. Remember the Social Security number started innocuously enough but it has become a prerequisite for a host of government services and been coopted by private companies to create massive databases of personal information. A national ID poses similar dangers; for example because "common machine-readable technology" will be required on every ID the government and businesses will be able to easily read your private information off the cards in myriad contexts.
Real ID won't just cost you your privacy. The federal government didn't give the states funds to implement the law and overcome its many administrative burdens so the billions of dollars in costs will be passed down to you in the form of increased DMV fees or taxes.
And what will you get in return? Not improved national security because IDs do nothing to stop those who haven't already been identified as threats and wrongdoers will still be able to create fake documents. In fact the IDs and database will simply create an irresistible target for identity thieves.
Kaye Beach is a Norman-based activist fighting against REAL ID and government collection of biometric information. Her Constitutional Alliance website has a helpful FAQ about biometrics. Her chilling summary:
We are being enrolled into a single global biometric identification system that links a person's body using biometrics to their ability to buy, sell, travel and work....
It is most important to note that ALL states meet Real ID benchmark #1 "Mandatory facial image capture and retention of such image." No matter whether your state is Real ID compliant or not, if you possess a state driver's license or photo ID card, you have been enrolled. The same is true for other government photo ID's such as a military ID or a US passport. These high resolution digital images are a biometric suitable for use with facial recognition technology and we know that at least 37 states are currently utilizing the facial biometric with facial recognition technology.
It is the capture of the biometric combined with the application of international standards that is at the heart of enrollment into a single global system of identification and control.
Beach writes that mandatory biometric identification shifts the balance of power from people to government, transforms rights into privileges, and destroys the presumption of innocence.
Her Constitutional Alliance co-founder, Mark Lerner, explains how this technology can have a chilling effect on the free exercise of our First Amendment rights:
The good news is now that the Snowden revelations have revealed to a large degree the domestic surveillance taking place, the public knows more about what OUR government is doing. The bad news is the chilling effect creating a surveillance state has on a representative form of government.
The chilling effect can be simply defined as the way in which people alter or modify their behavior to conform to political and social norms as a result of knowing or believing they are being observed. The observation can be from physical surveillance, telephone meta data being collected, emails being intercepted and read, search engine requests being maintained, text messages being read and stored, financial transactions being monitored and much more.